Parkinson’s exercise: The 8 best forms of exercise

Philip Tindall says he 'tried to ignore' his Parkinson's

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Parkinson’s disease impacts around one in 500 people and although there’s no cure for the disease, there are plenty of treatments available to reduce the main symptoms and maintain quality of life for as long as possible. Exercise can help to improve most of the symptoms of the disease, but some forms of exercise are more suitable for Parkinson’s patients than others. reveals the eight best forms of exercise for Parkinson’s patients, according to the Parkinson’s Foundation.

Exercise is essential for every human being, as regular physical activity can improve muscle strength, boost endurance, and help your cardiovascular system work more efficiently.

Working out and getting your blood pumping can help you to combat health conditions and diseases, from strokes, high blood pressure, diabetes and cancer to depression, anxiety and falls.

Everyone’s mental health can benefit from exercise as exercise really improves your mood, leaving you feeling happier, more relaxed and less anxious.

Physical activity can also boost your energy, help you sleep better, and boost your sex life.

All of the benefits of exercise mentioned above are particularly important for people with Parkinson’s disease, who struggle with a range of physical and psychological symptoms, including:

  • depression and anxiety
  • balance problems (this may increase the chances of a fall)
  • loss of sense of smell (anosmia)
  • problems sleeping (insomnia)
  • memory problems

The Parkinson’s Foundation explains: “For people with Parkinson’s disease (PD), exercise is a vital component to maintaining balance, mobility and activities of daily living.

“Exercise and physical activity can improve many Parkinson’s Disease symptoms, and these benefits are supported by research.”

For adults aged between 19 and 64, the NHS recommends at least 150 minutes a week spread over four to five days.

Parkinson’s disease patients are no different and should also exercise for a minimum of 150 minutes a week.

The Parkinson’s Outcomes Project shows that people with Parkinson’s Disease who start exercising earlier on after their diagnosis and for a minimum of two and half hours a week experienced a slowed decline in quality of life compared to those who start later.

While any exercise is beneficial, your exercise program should include aerobic activity, flexibility, strength training, balance, agility and multitasking to improve symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.

The Parkinson’s Foundation pointed out that there’s no “exercise prescription” that suits everyone with Parkinson’s disease.

The site’s advice explains: “For sedentary people, just getting up and moving is beneficial.

“More active people can build up to regular, vigorous activity.

“Many approaches work well to help maintain and improve mobility, flexibility and balance to ease non-motor PD symptoms such as depression or constipation.

“The most important thing is to exercise regularly. We suggest finding an exercise you enjoy and stick with it.”

Researchers in the Parkinson’s Outcomes Project study did not distinguish between what type of exercise participants did.

All types of exercise are beneficial for Parkinson’s disease, but the following eight forms tend to be the most suitable:

  • Cycling
  • Running
  • Tai chi
  • Yoga
  • Pilates
  • Dance
  • Weight training
  • Non-contact boxing
  • Qi gong

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